It’s time to find some real answers to some real football questions

As Hank Williams Jr. used to ask on Monday nights, “Are you ready for some football?”
I’m ready for some football.
It’s time. The Pro Football Hall of Fame game is Thursday night. Kentucky football’s media day is Friday. The Wildcats’ Fan Day is Saturday. College football games begin Aug. 26. We’ll have NFL games — and legalized sports betting in Kentucky — starting Sept. 7. Teams are already wearing pads in training camps.
I can’t wait. After months of non-stop chatter about NIL and the transfer portal and conference realignment and media rights and summer speculation, I’m more than ready to find the answers only provided by real-live blocking and tackling.
▪ I want to see if Kentucky Coach Mark Stoops can pull his Wildcats back on track after last season’s disappointing 7-6 season. And, yes, it’s a measure of Stoops’ success that a few short years ago 7-6 would have been cause for celebration.
▪ I want to see if Kentucky quarterback Devin Leary is the real deal. On the plus side, the former North Carolina State quarterback is a pinpoint passer. On the negative, he’s been injury prone. Old/new UK offensive coordinator Liam Coen and a healthy Leary is an enticing combination.
New Kentucky starting quarterback Devin Leary is entering his fifth season of college football in 2023.
▪ I want to see what Jeff Brohm can do at Louisville. The Cardinals’ new coach has already energized his alma mater through the transfer portal. Brohm can coach. He proved that at Western Kentucky and Purdue. U of L could easily be the surprise team in the ACC.
▪ I want to see what Parker McKinney does at Eastern Kentucky. The Colonels’ star quarterback threw for 3,956 yards and 33 touchdowns last season. Phil Steele tabbed McKinney as his ASUN Offensive Player of the Year. The redshirt senior from Coalfield, Tenn., will lead Walt Wells’ team — now in the United Athletic Conference — against Kentucky at Kroger Field on Sept. 9.
▪ I want to see what Jon Sumrall will do for an encore at Troy. The former UK linebacker and assistant coach engineered a sparkling head coaching debut at Troy. The Trojans finished 12-2. They were ranked No. 19 in the final AP poll. Sumrall earned Sun Belt Coach of the Year honors. Can he possibly top that?
▪ I want to see if Neal Brown can escape the hot seat at West Virginia. It’s a make-or-break year for the former UK receiver and offensive coordinator. Brown is 22-25 overall and 14-21 in the Big 12 in four seasons in Morgantown. He’s a good coach in a tough job.
▪ I want to see if Georgia can three-peat as national champions. That hasn’t been done since Minnesota in 1934-35-36. Heard an interesting question on the Georgia-centric “Waitin’ Since Last Saturday” podcast: Do Bulldogs fans want a third straight national title more than they wanted a second? I’ll bet they do.
▪ I want to see if Tennessee’s offense is as explosive without Hendon Hooker and Jalin Hyatt. Hooker was the UT quarterback. Hyatt was the Vols’ stellar receiver. Both will be hard to replace, even if Joe Milton, Hooker’s replacement, has received plenty of summer hype.
▪ I want to see if Shane Beamer can capitalize on his momentum at South Carolina. The Gamecocks finished 2022 strong. They trounced Tennessee 63-38, then rallied to upset in-state rival Clemson 31-30. They lost 45-38 to Notre Dame in an exciting Gator Bowl. Beamer is recruiting well. Circle UK-South Carolina on Nov. 18 in Columbia.
▪ I want to see if the Cincinnati Bengals can make it back to the Super Bowl. They were there in 2021. They missed it by one game in 2022. Everyone is talking about Joe Burrow’s health. To me, the bigger question is how defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo incorporates new pieces.
▪ I want to see if Louisville native Desmond Ridder is really the man for the Atlanta Falcons. That’s what Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank said Tuesday. “We feel pretty strongly that (Ridder) will be our quarterback of the future,” Blank said of the former Saint Xavier High School and University of Cincinnati star.
▪ I want to see some football.

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